The Ristorante Villa Portofino (101 Crescent Ave., 310/510-2009, www.ristorantevillaportofino.com, $15–35), attached to the Villa Portofino hotel, serves tasty pasta and protein dishes with a distinct Italian flare—and you’ll get a fabulous harbor view with your cannelloni or calamari.
In homage to the locale, the menu here runs to seafood, with some classic and a few inventive preparations. The pastas bring homey comfort food to Catalina, and the hot appetizer menu is well worth a look. For dessert, the Ristorante offers a goodly selection of Italian favorites such as cannoli and panna cotta.
In the summertime, see if you can get a table out on the patio to enjoy the balmy island breezes—you’ll feel almost as though you’re really on the Mediterranean coast of Italy.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition